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Part two of this review of Mark Lewisohn’s Tune In suggests that Lewisohn could have done more to explain why Paul and George formed a connection to one another: 

“Close school pal Ian James says he couldn’t understand what (aside from music) drew Paul to George, who was younger and decidedly more abrasive than Macca. Lewisohn doesn’t really explore or try to explain that. Indeed, while John and George had quite similar temperaments and world views, Paul was different in many ways, and I’d have liked the book to dig a little deeper into what attracted – and ultimately bound – them to each other.”

I’ve just picked up Graeme Thomson’s George Harrison: Behind the Locked Door and though he mainly talks about Paul and George’s early bond being about music and “being grammar school boys stuck on the outskirts of town,” he also maybe offers a bit of a clue to what drew them together in his early descriptions of George: “In certain company, [George] could be loud, extrovert, aggressive and confrontational. Paul McCartney’s earliest impressions were of ‘a cocky little guy with a good sense of himself; he wasn’t cowed by anything.’ At other times he would be thoughtful, with a shyness that could be both soulful and surly.” (23, 15). Thomson then goes on to say that “[George] never quite aligned himself to the notion of being told what to do” (15). 

Though Thomson suggests that Paul “Was shaping up to be one of nature’s diplomats, pouring oil on troubled waters” while “Harrison was less inclined to play nice when his mood dictated otherwise,”(14) it is the case that Paul *also* really disliked being told what to do, as he explains here: “I never much liked authority. I didn’t like school teachers or critics telling me what I should do. Or myself telling me.”

I wonder if, in addition to shared humor, an interest in music, and a long commute their mutual dislike of authority/being told what to do bonded them–though the way they handled this dislike of authority manifested itself in different ways. It’s also interesting to me that Thomson’s bio of George and Chris Salewicz’s bio of Paul indicate that they could both be outgoing as well as shy/sensitive–though again, their ways of being outgoing and shy/sensitive looked different.

From episode 3.A of If I Ran Away from You, our series on #thebeatles breakup. Beatles authors often place John at the center of the Beatles story, and we think this is the story of all of them, and most especially John and Paul!

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3 Listener Asks…

Thank you, anons! 🙂

We are not afraid to call out Mark Lewisohn. He is simply a man who has written some books. He is subject to the same rigor and scrutiny as any other author. We don’t believe popularity within the fandom should render him immune from criticism. Especially since we think he has failed spectacularly at being unbiased and impartial (which he originally claimed he was setting out to do).

– Thalia and the AKOM crew

“If I Ran Away from You: Part 4″ Love, War, and the Games that Ended the Beatles

In this episode, Diana and Phoebe begin their investigation into the issues that separated John and Paul and turned them against each other, the most significant of which was Allen Klein: the Demon King of the Beatles Break-up. 
They examine how Klein drove a wedge between Paul and John and hastened the band’s demise. They also discuss what Paul McCartney describes as “the cracking of the Liberty Bell,” a hugely important moment in the journey of the Beatles.
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Anonymous asked:

This was an amazing episode. The further you go in this series the more baffling it is that no one has seriously broken down John’s love for Paul in a prominent Beatle’s book. I really liked that you pointed out how Paul now uses hyperbole to try to explain his relationship with John. I hope you guys are getting enough appreciation and not too much push back, this is a really refreshing series with some very important points that I hope continues for a long time.

Our Tumblr asks

Thank you so much! Your words mean a lot to us, and it is very reassuring to know that someone out there is listening and appreciating the hours (lifetime!) of research and thought we’ve put into this analysis.

To be perfectly frank, we haven’t gotten ANY pushback on any of our analysis about the Beatles. The only pushback we’ve gotten thus far has been about our criticism of Mark Lewisohn. (None of it was substantive, however, it was all of the generic, “hey, he’s a good guy!” variety)

As to pushing back on actual substance… we encourage it! We can defend all our viewpoints, they are all based in logic, common sense and facts, so are open to challenge and debate.

Listener Mail Bag


Listener feedback is valuable to us, and we love it when someone takes the time to reach out and engage us in conversation!  We will occasionally feature letters we receive which spark some interesting discussion or debate (with name redacted for privacy).  Here is one of them, which was particularly interesting because it challenged us to clarify our position Mark Lewisohn, as well as how we view the state of McCartney’s critical reputation. 

Please do feel free to email us at akompodcast at gmail dot com, send us an ask, or a Tumblr message.  We love hearing from you! 

Listener’s letter:

I’m glad I discovered your podcast, you ladies are doing a great job. You’re discourse on 1968, India etc. was new and really made me think.  A couple of minor critiques: As a McCartney fan, even I have to say your advocacy of his “position” (if we can call it that) is a bit over the top and defensive. Surprisingly for Beatle fans of your age, your characterization of the critical and Beatle world consensus on Paul seems quite dated. This is 2019, not 1985. Nowadays McCartney’s standing, critically and among fans, is sky high. The Jean Jackets are not as influential as you think.  Finally, Mark Lewisohn does not deserve the derision you subject him too. He is a very serious and responsible guy, a true historian who cares about getting things right. Don’t lump him in with the hacks. Anyway, keep up the good work. I’ll be listening 

Our response, written by Phoebe:

Thank you so much for taking the time to reach out to us!  We LOVE to hear from listeners and are so glad you’re enjoying the podcast.

It’s refreshing to hear that you don’t believe the Jean Jacket narratives are as influential as they once were!  We hope this is the case.  The more popular podcasts (by older “experts”) and websites all appear to be steeped in the traditional narrative, but I agree that younger fans often have a more nuanced view of things.

As far as Paul goes, this is something we’ve heard strains of before; that Paul doesn’t need you to defend him, he’s rich, he’s happy, etc.  Many people think the record has already been corrected, so what are we even reacting to?
I’d argue that it’s not about “Paul bashing” (although that still exists too) it’s about a sort of perceived artistic hierarchy  – with John at the top and Paul underneath- that many in the Beatles fandom still buy into. Lewisohn is actually one of the worst offenders in this regard because he relentlessly perpetuates this hierarchy in Tune In, and fervently continues to push it.  Lewisohn admits John is his hero and so we find that John is always the hero of The Beatles story from Mark’s POV.  That’s a perfectly fine position to have as a fan, but when you write this into a biography that claims to be unbiased, it’s problematic.  It may not wholly invalidate his work (for example, he may be a good researcher) but we believe in holding Lewisohn to at least the same standards to which we hold ourselves. 

Our goal with this podcast is to critically examine what we’re being told by those crafting the narratives and that often involves what some may consider “nitpicking.”  But in tearing down the wall we feel we should examine each brick.  
Our efforts to position Paul as an equal to John are by definition disruptive to the status quo and therefore may sometimes require an “over the top” vigilance.  However, our podcast is but a drop in the Sea of Conventional Wisdom so sometimes we decide a “squeaky wheel” approach is required to drive our point home.  It takes an extraordinary effort to challenge views that have resided in the public consciousness for fifty years!  Hopefully the occasional zeal on our part is tolerable 🙂 and we ultimately take the listener to a thought-provoking place.

Once again, thank you so much for contacting us and sharing your perspective!  We learn a lot by hearing from listeners like you, and hope you stick with us.

Phoebe and the AKOM Crew

Anonymous asked:

Episode suggestion: analyzing Beatles authors through the years and their biases, narratives, limitations- Including some overdue Lewisohn discourse 🙂 kind of like the work of Erin Weber at the Historian and the Beatles. Keep up the great work! Thank you for what you do.

Our Tumblr asks

Hello, and thank you so much for the suggestion! 🙂  That is an excellent suggestion, in fact, and one we have been discussing!  Stay tuned!  And thank you so much for the feedback! 🙂 We love hearing from our listeners!